Diablo IV Devs Release A Quarterly Update, Outlining Coming Changes And Features To UI

Diablo IV Devs Release A Quarterly Update, Outlining Coming Changes And Features To UI
Credit: YouTube via IGN

Blizzard’s announcement of Diablo IV set the gaming community on fire just a little bit. It’s been nearly a decade since we saw the release of the third title in the franchise, so there’s a great amount of hype circling around the coming fourth installment.

There’s still quite a considerable amount of information that we haven’t learned yet – a release date, to begin with – but Blizzard is working to tease out information as they go through development. This quarterly announcement is the first that they’ve released thus far, detailing their plans to release them continuously as time goes on.

Today’s announcement is a double-header with a writeup from Angela Del Priore, the lead UI Designer of Diablo IV, as well as Candace Thomas, the Senior Encounter Designer. We’ll be focusing on Del Priore’s detailing of the UI design and how they’ve let the feedback from BlizzCon feed into their choices.

Beginning with the inventory, Del Priore discusses the extensive feedback they received on the “coloring, style/size of item icons, and overall aesthetic” of the inventory system. “With item icons, we’d initially pursued a painterly style to stay in line with the overall art direction of the game, and we’re finding that it doesn’t come across as well when we’re talking about small elements in the UI.” After the feedback, they’ve decided to try an approach of 3D models based on natural, realistic textures.

Additionally, the UI team worked to lower the brightness and saturation of the icon backgrounds, also adding border decoration to help indicate rarity. With these changes, the UI team hopes to balance ease of use and a realistic UI.

Moving to controls, the team responded to feedback to rebind the left mouse button to not mix movement and attacking, hoping to add freedom to player control. The left-corner action bar has been returned to the traditional default position of the bottom of the PC after extensive feedback from usability tests and players. In the end, though, players still have the freedom of choosing which location the bar will appear in.

Del Priore’s team is also working to incorporate controller compatibility, as they discuss the difficulty of this being the first Diablo title simultaneously being developed for PC and Console. To accomplish this, the team is working to keep the UI unified so that players can shift between the two as they see fit, hoping to reach a “native feel” for both inputs. Finally, Couch Co-Op is affecting UI with a focus on improving the popular 2-player co-op experiencing, causing the team to set up core progression UI screens so that they can be opened independently or simultaneously.

There are still plenty more changes to the UI bound to be on the way. It could be years before we actually see Diablo IV’s release, so you may want to pump the breaks on any hype trains you’ve been conducting. Thankfully, though, that gives the development teams plenty of time to tweak and polish the game as the UI team is striving to do.